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Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers

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Night Skyscapes Photography

  • 04/10/2021
  • 1:30 AM
  • Great Smoky Mountains National Park
  • 77


  • Members and visitors are invited to register.

Registration is closed

SANP Field Event

Night Skyscapes Photography

April 10, 2021


Leader:  Ron Sentell              Phone: 865-441-2937                            E-mail:

Meeting place:  Luftee Overlook Parking Lot                                        Time:  1:30 am

Registration available:  March 1



This event was rescheduled due to forecast of increasing cloud cover throughout the week.  Unfortunately, Milky Way photography requires clear skies.  For the 24 people who had registered, April 5 was chosen as an alternate as the only night of the week promising clear skies.  Six people were able to reschedule and go.

If you are interested in Milky Way photography, register for this event and I will add your email to future related announcements.  On May 10, I will review the sky forecast for the following week and pick another date that could work. 

Ron Sentell

April 5

Location Description:  

On April 10 (Saturday morning), a field trip is planned to photograph the Milky Way from the Oconaluftee Valley Overlook (also known as Luftee Overlook), Newfound Gap, and Clingmans Dome.  A Zoom meeting for field trip registrants will be held on April 6 at 7:00 pm to discuss the trip.  A clear, dark sky is essential.  During the timeframe from April 7 – 16, the moon is below the horizon when the Galactic Center of the Milky Way is above the horizon. with the location Newfound Gap Overlook will be used for a go/no-go decision for April 10.  Near the bottom of this webpage under Additional Forecasts and Information, select Tabular Forecast for hourly details.  If sky cover forecast is more than 10 %, an alternate date will be chosen.  Or if the difference between temperature and dewpoint is 4 degrees or less, dense fog is likely and an alternate date will be chosen.

We will meet in the Luftee Overlook parking lot on 441 just past Newfound Gap at 1:30 am.  The Galactic Center of the Milky Way rises above the horizon at 1:36 am and is visible until 5:42 am when twilight begins.  This location provides a view of the Milky Way arching from the right side of this vista to the left side.  We will go from here to Newfound Gap and Clingmans Dome.  Clingmans Dome provides several wonderful foregrounds, including the tower and its spiral ramp and the trail to the tower.   

Road construction on 441 from the Chimneys Picnic Area to Newfound Gap should not impact us.  Traffic will be impacted on that stretch of highway Monday through Friday from 7:00 am to midnight.

Learning opportunities: How to locate and photograph the Milky Way over majestic landscapes.


What to bring:

  • Your favorite DSLR camera and lens. Extra batteries. A wide angle lens is best for the Milky Way.  I use an 11-16 mm f/2.8 zoom lens.  
  • Bring appropriate gear for the weather. It can be cold at night at Clingmans and Newfound  Gap
  • Tripods will be needed

COVID-19 precautions:

We will practice social distancing and wear masks to mitigate the risk of virus transmission. 


Driving directions:  From the Cedar Bluff area of Knoxville, I plan on 1 hour 40 minutes.  Luftee Overlook is about 0.8 mile beyond Newfound Gap on the right side of Highway 441.

How to Find Me:  Silver Subaru Outback

Contacts:     Jerry Whaley, President       Julie Glibbery, Membership Manager       General Information

Southern Appalachian Nature Photographers is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization located near the Smoky Mountains in East Tennessee.
Mailing address: 1143 Oak Ridge Turnpike, Ste 107A-231, Oak Ridge, TN 37830
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